New Delhi, Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir and Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri received the Padma awards from President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday. The two were among eight sportspersons conferred with the honour this year.
Gambhir took to the micro-blogging site Twitter, to express his happiness and gratitude to his fans. ‘This is for all the supporters of Indian cricket and my critics. Both have played a part in my journey…some day will discuss who played more than the other,’ Gambhir tweeted.
The 37-year-old played match-winning knocks in the finals of India’s World T20 victory in 2007 and the 2011 World Cup title triumph.
So far, Gambhir has played 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20Is for India, since making his international debut in 2003. The left-handed batsman announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in December, 2018, after scoring 10,324 International runs.
Meanwhile, Chhetri, who guided India in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 this month, became the sixth Indian Footballer to be awarded with the Padma Shri. Chhetri has won three Nehru Cups (2007, 2009, 2012), an AFC Challenge Cup (2012), and two SAFF Championships (2011, 2016), in his illustrious career.
Archery star Bombayla Devi and basketball player Prashanti Singh were also among those, who received the coveted honour on Saturday.
Other sportspersons, who were conferred the Padma Shri this year, were wrestler Bajrang Punia, chess Harika Dronavalli, kabaddi captain Ajay Thakur and table tennis player Achantha Sharath Kamal.